Kuwait refers controversial electoral law to court
Source: BI-ME with AFP , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Fri August 10, 2012 11:21 am

KUWAIT. The government decided on Thursday to refer a controversial electoral law to Kuwait's constitutional court despite threats by the opposition it would stage street rallies in protest.

"The council of ministers has asked the legal department to prepare the necessary suit to refer the electoral law to the constitutional court," Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah told a press conference.

The decision was taken after "all constitutional experts asked by the government said the law is in breach of the constitution," the minister said.

The "referral of the law to the court will take place before the end of next week," said the minister, adding that the aim was to "immune the law against possible future challenges that may nullify any elections."

The government took the decision despite stern warnings by opposition MPs that they will stage rallies against the action which they described as a "coup against the constitution."

The law, which divides the oil-rich Gulf state into five electoral districts, was passed by parliament in 2006 following popular rallies demanding to reform the election process.

Parliamentary elections were held on the basis of the law in 2008 and 2009, in addition to February 2012 which the constitutional court nullified in June on the grounds of procedural flaws.

The court also scrapped the opposition-dominated parliament and reinstated the previous pro-government house elected in 2009 after it was dissolved in December following youth-led protests.

But the revived assembly failed to meet on two attempts last week due to a lack of quorum as opposition MPs said it was illegitimate and pro-government lawmakers boycotted it because the government planned to dissolve it.

The Kuwaiti minister said the 2009 parliament will not meet again but it will not be dissolved until the constitutional court issues its verdict.

The opposition has demanded that the 2009 parliament should be swiftly dissolved and fresh elections held.

The OPEC member has been rocked by a series of political crises since 2006 during which the government resigned nine times and parliament was dissolved on five occasions

 

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COMMENT & ANALYSIS

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